Media Center

Press Release


  May 25, 2005

The Organization of American States (OAS) and Georgetown University agreed today to continue working together to restructure and strengthen the Political Database of the Americas (PDBA), a joint Internet-based project that provides political information, reference materials, comparative studies and statistical data of the 35 OAS member states.*

In a brief ceremony at the Organization’s headquarters, the Director of the OAS Department of Democratic and Political Affairs, John Biehl, and Arturo Valenzuela, Director of the Center for Latin American Studies of Georgetown University, signed the third cooperation agreement.

“This database is a critical tool that will help to continue to improve the quality of politics for practitioners and researchers all over the Americas and the Caribbean,” Biehl said.

Valenzuela, recalling the work carried out thus far, said that the project has contributed “important initiatives to the entire process of reflection on democratic consolidation and transitions towards democracy in Latin America.”

The Political Database of the Americas was established in 1995 as a result of the first Summit of the Americas, when the leaders of the hemisphere called for greater exchange of information and experiences among democratic institutions.

Today’s agreement, among other things, seeks to modernize and improve the Website; to substantially increase its coverage; to create new cooperation among other institutions and bodies of the inter-American system; and to develop programs which would create a permanent financing base.

The United States Government has been the major contributor to the project with over $500,000 donated to date. Representing the U.S. Mission to the OAS, Wendy Sneff said, “This Database can be an important instrument not only for researchers and academics but for everyone who wants to learn more about how democracy works.”

The information tool is organized into eight sections: Constitutions and Constitutional Studies; Executive Institutions; Legislative Institutions; Judicial Institutions; Electoral Systems and Electoral Data; Decentralization and Local Governance; and Civil Society.

The Political Database of the Americas can be found at:
* By resolution of the Eighth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (1962) the current Government of Cuba is excluded from participation in the OAS.

Reference: E-102/05